OCEANSIDE — The North County Transit District (NCTD) Board of Directors adopted a proclamation at its July 18 meeting recognizing September 2019 as “Rail Safety Month.” In doing so, NCTD affirms its commitment to safety and saving lives through the prevention of needless tragedy on and near the tracks.
NCTD holds safety as one if its core values in the provision and operation of public transit services throughout its service area. NCTD takes every opportunity to incorporate the fundamental principles of safety in all of its operational plans, procedures, and processes. NCTD also takes steps to proactively communicate the concept of public safety awareness and education near and at its rail grade crossings and rail right-of-way to members of the communities it serves. This is done through public outreach and educational efforts throughout the year.
According to statistics kept by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and California Operation Lifesaver, Incorporated (CAOL), the state of California continues to be identified as having the highest number of preventable railroad trespasser fatalities of all states in the nation. There were 209 tragic rail incidents (directly related to trespassing) recorded statewide in 2018 of which 86 resulted in injury, and 123 were fatal.
In an effort to reduce these tragedies, state legislators passed a bill in 2009 that designated September as “Rail Safety Month.” Each year, passenger and freight rail operators team up to remind pedestrians and motorists to exercise caution when near tracks, to heed the warning signals when crossing railroad tracks, and to always “See Tracks, Think Trains.”
“The tracks are not somewhere to be playing, taking photos or exercising. Tracks are for trains only,” said Tony Kranz, NCTD’s board chair.
During the month of September, NCTD staff will hold various outreach activities at COASTER and SPRINTER stations to educate the public about safety around the tracks. Riders may visit the booths for information and giveaways related to track safety. In addition, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Office will partner with NCTD to visit local businesses to educate guests and owners about rail safety.